Irish Republican groups have seen their Facebook and Instagram pages removed and supporters’ personal accounts locked in the latest move by tech companies against dissenters.
As reported in the Irish News, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement saw its national page and its affiliate regional/cumainn pages taken down. “Groups that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence have no place on Facebook. As a result, this organisation has been banned from our platforms and we will remove any praise, support or representation of the group and its activities,” a spokesperson said.
The 32CSM released a statement disputing the assertion by Facebook that the group is involved in violence: “We would like to state on record now that we are not a dangerous organisation, we are in no way whatsoever engaged in violence of any kind and we are not proclaiming any violent mission. These spurious accusations are defamatory and designed to fit the narrative being pushed by Britain and their collaborators here in Ireland. What this essentially boils down to is black propaganda and political censorship, directed by British intelligence in their efforts to thwart anyone still upholding traditional Republican values.”
Alongside the removal of the pages of the 32CSM has been the removal of pages associated with Republican Sinn Féin and Saoradh.
It is unclear what effect this will have on the Republican groups’ ability to recruit or promulgate their ideologies, given the longevity of the Republican Movement more broadly and the existence of already well-formed communities offline.
In a report from 2019 it was found that “Dissident republican groups operate broad but unsophisticated online networks to recruit and spread propaganda (…) Analysis of Facebook networks found supporters of such groups tend to be older than other extremist groups, such as jihadi and far-right organisations, and less capable of recruiting new members.”
While some readers may not think we have any cause for common truck with groups like Saoradh, following the presence of several of their members as counter-protesters during “free speech” protests throughout 2019 and 2020: we must remind ourselves of who may be the next who Facebook will target to suppress – the Nationalist-Right.
Nationalists and traditional Republicans have common cause for concern. The Free State will only be too happy to suppress and oppress those involved in dissenting forms of politics, irrespective of whether we like each other or not.
As Facebook has interfered in the Referendum on the Repeal of the Eight Amendment, and is now removing political parties and pressure groups at whim, the time has come for us to work together against censorship and soft left-liberal tech-tyranny, before we all find ourselves persona non grata.